THE STORY OF NOICHI THE BLIND By Chet Williamson – Reviewed

Bit of a weird one this. It’s presented as an old Japanese Fairy Tale of sorts, possibly written by a writer at the turn of the century, and found by Williamson’s son in a box of papers in an antique shop.

The story is set in medieval Japanese, where Noichi is a wood cutter, and one day is finds a young woman, hiding after accidentally killing a samurai. He takes her home and looks after her and they eventually marry. Then she gets sick and dies. But Noichi doesn’t realise she is dead, and the animals of the forest, who he has made friends with, inhabit his wife’s body, making it as live as possible, crawling inside it to remove the rotting flesh, and wriggled inside to make it feel alive. Noichi continues to feed his wife and make love to her. Then she gives birth to a Tengu, mountain demon, who eats all the creatures of the forest, but lies to Noichi, who believes everything his child tells him.

At the end is an essay saying it’s unlikely the work of the turn of the century writer.

The actual story is pretty weird and fairy-tale like, and pleasant, or rather unpleasant, enough. But the non-sense surrounding the authenticity of the story seems a bit contrived. A brief paragraph would have been suffice, it feels like unnecessary padding.

Definitely a strange tale.

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